The GOP’s Obamacare Lite: Retreat, Retweak, Rename, Renege

I have always said “repeal and replace” was a political scam perpetuated by the spineless GOP congressional leadership, and that it would soon bite the clueless Team Trump in the posterior.

Now comes the outline of Speaker Ryan’s plan, and self-evidently it’s a big nothing-burger that makes a complete mockery of the Donald’s campaign pledge.

In fact, let’s just call it Obamacare Lite and here’s why.

Health care socialism — that is, cost pool averaging and elimination of market pricing — is what will finally bankrupt America. Under current law, government programs will cost at least $24 trillion over the next decade.

That staggering sum includes the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) $16.5 trillion cost estimate for the Federal medical programs — plus $4 trillion in tax benefits for employer health plans and $3.5 trillion for the state share of Medicaid.

The government health care total is nearly double the 10-year cost of $13.2 trillion for social security.

Health care socialism is the most fiscally explosive entitlement ever conceived because it destroys market discipline on costs — even as it corrodes individual accountability for the ultimate drivers of medical care demand such as personal fitness and nutrition habits and practices.

In my judgment, the GOP’s swell new Obamacare Lite will end up costing $23 trillion or 95% of the current baseline over the next decade, and will leave all the anti-market and collectivist features of the existing health care doomsday machine fully in place.

Worse still, it will take the GOP a full year or even more to get a heavily diluted version of Obamacare Lite to Trump’s desk for signature. During that legislative ordeal of shuffling the deck chairs on the medical care Titanic, the rest of the fanciful Trump Stimulus — sweeping tax cuts and an infrastructure boom — will fall by the wayside, thereby assuring a financial crash and renewed plunge into recession.

The source of the public anger that Trump tapped into with his strident attack on Obamacare during the campaign was the runaway cost and bureaucratic rigidity of the entire U.S. health care system, not just the soaring premiums being experienced by the 8 million or so enrollees in the state health exchanges.

Yet Obamacare Lite does exactly nothing about that.

Here is just one example of the old Ryan double-shuffle at work in his newly released outline. The Medicaid expansion piece of Obamacare is projected to cost $1.1 trillion over the next decade due to 15 million new beneficiaries on the rolls by 2026.

This huge expansion is being driving mainly by increasing the Medicaid eligibility threshold to 133% of the poverty line.

Presumably, the GOP repeal plan would save Uncle Sam the $1.1 trillion price tag — a goodly sum that Washington doesn’t have anyway. But when you read the fine print, it is evident that despite all the liberal arm-waving Ryan’s plan doesn’t roll back the Medicaid coverage expansion at all!

It just reduces the 90% Federal matching rate for these new populations to the normal 57% (average for all states), meaning that savings would amount to just $300 billion thru 2027.

But that won’t go to the bottom line either because Ryan recycles $100 billion of that into a new handout called “innovation grants” for funding high risk pools and other state determined benefits.

And that’s just for starters. The GOP governors were in town this past weekend and you can be sure that pumping more money into the “innovation grant” side-car has already been promised right and left.

Folks, I have some considerable experience in the legislative sausage factory.

When the Republicans get done haggling over the total amount of the above referenced “innovation grants” and other details, it will be a miracle if Obamacare Lite saves a single dime from the $8.5 trillion combined Federal/state spending for Medicaid built into current law over the next decade.

Ryan has no plan to cut Medicaid because he has no plan to attack the underlying inflationary bias of the entire health care system. All the strum and drang of the coming battle will be about jiggering Medicaid reimbursement formulae in a manner that satisfies red state governors and congressional delegations, not fixing the relentless cost escalation that is driving Medicaid costs.

The only solution to the latter is three-fold.

First, there must be a sharp reduction in the massive government fiscal transfers flowing into all sectors of the system — Medicare/Medicaid, employer plans and the individual coverage market. After all, the U.S. spends an incredible 18% of GDP on the health care system and gets no better results than most European democracies at 10-12%.

Secondly, free market pricing, resource allocation and utilization discipline must be introduced back into the health care sector in place of the pervasive and dysfunctional third party insurance and payments model.

And finally, that means a drastic rollback of third-party payments for medical services in favor of out-of-pocket purchases by financially motivated and attentive health care consumers.

Against these requisites of true health care reform, Ryan’s plan has nothing to do with pro-market reforms. Obamacare Lite is just one more example of Ryan’s typical content-free rhetoric about relying on market forces when in fact his policies are simply a more medical cartel friendly form of state action.

The truth is, there is no longer any such thing as free markets in the health care sector. The underlying problem with the bloated U.S. health care system — of which soaring Medicaid costs are only a symptom — is too much insurance, not too little competition; and too much government money in the system.

And most important of all, there are few market-based, price-sensitive medical care consumers — just several hundred million cost-indifferent prepaid patients.

That’s the essence of the matter. When everything is paid for by third-parties, you do not have price-conscious, shopping-oriented, cost-minimizing consumers who have their own money at risk.

America’s consumers, in fact, have been economically euthanized by the current system. It turns cost-conscious customers patrolling the aisles at Wal-Mart or relentlessly searching on Amazon for bargains into zombie patients who sit around the doctor’s office instagramming on their iPhones waiting to be seen for a visit that will be charged to an anonymous payor.

Needless to say, there is no such thing as a free market when their are no real consumers. What passes for the health care market today is just a bureaucratic clearing house where provider cartels attempt to maximize their billings while insurance companies and health care cartels seek to minimize what they certify for payment.

The consequence is high prices, endless hassles over coverage and pre-approvals and a complete loss of consumer sovereignty over their own health care costs and quality. And that is what the public is fundamentally objecting to under the rubric of “Obamacare.”

Nothing will be remedied until the underlying problem of a third-party payment system is addressed head on.

Obamacare Lite does not challenge the failing fundamentals of the current health care system; it’s a cop-out which reinforces everything which is wrong with it. Abolishing the Obama health exchanges or rejiggering the Medicaid expansion will do absolutely nothing to curtail soaring costs and premiums.

Obamacare is politically vulnerable. But the GOP is completely blowing the political opportunity it has provided.

That’s largely because the GOP is owned by the insurance companies, HMOs and organized provider groups. So as the fiscal crunch in the Imperial City intensifies, the crony capitalist gangs which fed on these giant pre-paid health pools will resist controls and cost containment with a vast mobilization of lobbying and campaign lucre.

It is the ensuing hand-to-hand combat in the corridors of Washington which will further paralyze the fiscal process.

The Donald and many of his conservative supporters in the GOP back-benches mean well, of course. But under the deceitful leadership of Paul Ryan and his henchman, they are heading into a Swamp far deeper than any of them can possibly imagine.

At the end of the day, huge political capital will be consumed to enact Obamacare Lite, but it will not make America’s health care system great again. It will only trigger the political conflagrations that are inherent in an irrational and dysfunctional third-party payment system that has become hideously costly.

And now there’s even more to come.

 

Source:  https://dailyreckoning.com/gop-obamacare-lite-retreat-retweak-rename-renege/

DPR ultimatum to Oligarchs: Pay taxes or nationalization. Russia to introduce visa regime for Ukraine

Thanks for the update Lada. The genius of Putin lies in his patience and calculated moves when necessary, ie Georgia, Crimea, Syria, and soon to be Ukraine without firing a shot. Visa free LNR/DNR gets the ball rolling.
Trump would do well to strategize like the master Putin.

Futurist Trendcast

Dear readers,

The events surrounding Ukraine and DLPR are continuing to heat up and accelerate. Many interesting events are also taking place in the post-Soviet space and all over Europe. I promised you all a new Earth Shift Report on Ukraine. However, I’ve decided not to publish it, after all. There are many big projects I am working on, including my book THE PUTIN ENIGMA. Completing and publishing my book is my first priority this year.

Therefore, for the lack of time, instead of an ESR I am offering you a series of free articles and videos on Ukraine and Donbass. The short list of all recent pieces is at the end of this article. For more Ukraine/DLPR related pieces, including the ones I wrote between the beginning of 2014 – end of 2016, go to CATEGORIES: Russia and Ukraine on the right navigation bar.

It often takes days, and sometimes longer…

View original post 2,809 more words

Secret DARPA Mind Control Project Revealed: Leaked Document

mind controlBy Activist Post

Whistleblower Reveals Military Mind Control Project At Major University

What if the government could change people’s moral beliefs or stop political dissent through remote control of people’s brains?

Sounds like science fiction, right? Well, a leaked document reveals that the US government, through DARPA research, is very close to accomplishing this.

Activist Post was recently contacted by an anonymous whistleblower who worked on a secret ongoing mind-control project for DARPA. The aim of the program is to remotely disrupt political dissent and extremism by employing “Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation” (TMS) in tandem with sophisticated propaganda based on this technology. TMS stimulates the temporal lobe of the brain with electromagnetic fields.

The program, conducted by The Center for Strategic Communication, is based at Arizona State University. The DARPA funding for this project can be confirmed on the ASU website here. The head of the project, Steve Corman, has worked extensively in the area of strategic communication as it applies to terrorism and “extremism” – or what could be called “the war of ideas.”

Corman’s  latest project Narrating The Exit From Afghanistan and his many presentations make it quite obvious that the mission is to shape the narrative and literally change people’s minds. Lest one believe it will be contained to overseas extremists, we should keep in mind that the word extremist is increasingly used domestically. The dissenters of yesterday could easily become the terrorist sympathizers and supporters of political violence tomorrow.This DARPA research brings about many ethical questions and dilemmas. Mainly, this research aims to literally induce or disrupt the operation of narratives within the brain. In other words, this research aims to stop individuals from thinking certain thoughts and make others believe things they normally would not believe. This research has tremendous interrogation possibilities and could potentially be used to more successfully spread propaganda or stop political upheaval to an unsuspecting public.

This research is being conducted by The Center for Strategic Communication at ASU and is entitled “Toward Narrative Disruptors and Inductors: Mapping the Narrative Comprehension Network and its Persuasive Effects”  A detailed overview of the project can be found in the document below. Highlights include:

  • In phase 3 of the research, the research group will “selectively alter aspects of narrative structure and brain functions via Transcranial Magnetic Simulation (TMS) to induce or disrupt selected features of narrative processing.” (Page 16, emphasis added)

TMS is a very powerful tool used to impair the brain functioning of individuals. See the videos below for a brief demonstration of the effects of TMS.

  • Once the research group determines which parts of the brain are associated with cognitive reasoning and narrative comprehension, they will be attempt to impair those sections in order to “create a fundamental basis for understanding how to disrupt or enhance aspects of narrative structure and/or brain functioning to minimize or maximize persuasive effects on subject proclivity to engage in political violence.” (Page 23)
  • Once it is determined that disruption of certain portions of the brain can enhance persuasive messaging, individuals can be persuaded to do things they normally would not do and believe things they normally would not believe. This could include something as simple as telling a closely guarded secret, to believing in government propaganda, or even committing a violent act. The group writes on page 26, “once we have produced a narrative comprehension model [i.e., how individuals comprehend stories and persuasive messages], end users [aka the government] will understand how to activate known neural networks (e.g., working memory or attention) and positive behavioral outcome (e.g., nonviolent actions) nodes with strategic communication messages as a means to reduce incidences of political violence in contested populations.” The group will investigate “possibilities for literally disrupting the activity of the NCN [narrative comprehension network] through Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation.” (page 30) [text added]
  • The group is so confident that they will be able to induce or disrupt the operations of narratives in the brain, that they say on page 26 that the research “offers the capability to induce or disrupt the operation of narratives in the brain, and develops the capability to induce narrative validity [i.e., the believability of a particular narrative/message], transportation [i.e., the ability to be engaged by a narrative], and integration [i.e., associating a particular narrative with a larger, more culturally specific narrative] with certainty.” [text added]
  • The group gives the following example of this projects usefulness: “If it is the case that activation in one particular neural network enables people to connect personal narrative to master narratives [i.e., cultural narratives], by disrupting activity in that brain area, we should be able to selectively impair that specific aspect of narrative processing while holding other meaning making processes constant, effectively creating a ‘narrative disruptor.’ Not only would this be an important finding in the science of neural networks and narrative persuasion, but would also have considerably practical and strategic importance.” (page 40) [text added]

Essentially, the research aims to literally disrupt how people think and comprehend ideas and messages.

  • Further, and perhaps even more terrifying, on page 40, the group writes, “Mechanical disruptions of narrative processing may be, ultimately, replicated in through targeted strategic communication campaigns that approximate the narrative disruptions induced via magnetic stimulation.” So, after figuring out which parts of the brain are activated by particular persuasive messages and propaganda, the government can test out messages that only activate particular portions of the brain and not others, in order to persuade individuals to believe or not believe something. Essentially, they are attempting to modify brain functioning without TMS, and only words. One can only imagine the strategies the government could use with this technology. They could make the public believe almost anything that suits their needs. It could literally lead to mass brainwashing.

But what does this mean, practically? It means that if this research succeeds, the government will be able to modify how one personally thinks. They could strap you in a chair, put a machine to your head, turn off parts of your brain, introduce a persuasive message, and make you believe it.

Further, through extensive research, they may be able to replicate the machine’s brain disrupting functioning simply through carefully crafted and researched persuasive messages and propaganda. They can use brain imaging to determine which portions of the brain are activated when a particular message is presented to an individual, and if the “right” portions are activated, they know the message will circumvent one’s mental reasoning and lead to almost automatic acceptance. With enough data, the government could spread propaganda through the media that people will almost automatically believe, whether it is true or not.

In terms of interrogation possibilities, Transcranical Magnetic Stimulation can be forced upon individuals to make them believe certain things, say certain things, and perhaps admit to acts they did not actually commit (as the TMS can induce narrative validity), or commit acts they normally would not commit.

The government is literally trying to brainwash the public. This is not science fiction. Technology has made it possible to induce and disrupt cognitive functioning in individuals. In the future, your thoughts may not be your own, but ones that have been implanted into your brain through exceedingly successful and validated propaganda.

Meeting notes indicate concern about how the project will be perceived, particularly the focus on the Christian/Muslim element.

We encourage you to embed these documents on your own website or blog and share them with everyone you know. Page numbers listed above are based on Scribd conversion below; enter the page number you wish to view in the Scribd search box. Note: As you can see, Scribd has taken down the documents. While we attempt to get them restored, here are the mirror links:

http://www.mediafire.com/view/oy4uu85ctkd70bd/156562352-Toward-Narrative-Disruptors-and-Inductors-Mapping-the-Narrative-Comprehension-Network-and-its-Persuasive-Effects.pdf

http://www.mediafire.com/view/zy9i9677coinbv8/156566740-Center-For-Strategic-Studies-Meeting-Notes-3-10-12.pdf

http://www.scribd.com/embeds/156562352/content?start_page=1&view_mode=scroll&show_recommendations=true

http://www.scribd.com/embeds/156566740/content?start_page=1&view_mode=scroll&show_recommendations=true

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Additional information about mind control and DARPA

In 2002 The Economist noted that neuroscience would be the future of mind control. Well, now we’re evidently here. This area of study has received $100 million in funding via Obama’s ten-year BRAIN Project, as well as a $1.3 billion commitment from Europe. The human brain is seen as the final frontier, and is being explored from every angle conceivable.

The above investments are openly discussed. The same is true for the National Nanotechnology Initiative 2011 Strategic Plan. This 60-page document lays out a projected future “to understand and control matter” for the management of every facet of human life in the areas of environment, health and safety. Twenty-five U.S. Federal agencies are participating.
Concurrently, there is heavy military funding through agencies such as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). This raises the question of transparency when a “black budget” often justifies total secrecy in the name of national security.
Advancements in neuroscience are coming at an exponential rate, as each day seems to headline a new breakthrough. For example, it recently has been announced that:

These are mainstream announcements and can no longer be dismissed as conspiracy theory.

For now, there appears to be a lot of parsing of words within the ASU project to stress that this is about “persuasion” not “influence” which can be seen in the meeting notes. It’s also repeatedly mentioned that there is not a desire to organically change the brain itself, but to focus on the story being told and how to properly disseminate information — propaganda, in other words.  Finally, there is the troubling note about focusing on the Christian/Muslim narrative as exemplary of the extremism which needs to be reprogrammed.

Given what we know about the other military research into direct mind control, any benign assertions of this project at ASU must be called into question. The fact that members of this group were divided into teams red and blue to construct arguments for and against if word were to get out to “activists” and the public is additionally troubling.

If we combine all of this information with other releases about The Pentagon’s work with “narrative networks,” reported on by the BBC, it becomes clear that now is the time to discuss ethics, as no one in the scientific and military communities seems eager to bring possible attacks on our free will to the forefront.

Will you take the red pill or the blue pill? We would love to hear your thoughts about what has been revealed. Activist Post would also like to call on all experts in this field of research and/or other whistleblowers to come forward and bring out into the open what is being covered up. This technology could affect us all.

NOTE: An e-mail sent to the program director at ASU requesting comments on this research did not receive a response.

Other important research links:

RELATED:
DARPA to Genetically Engineer Humans by Adding a 47th Chromosome

Read other articles by Activist Post Here